As drought persists, Shelley asks residents to conserve water

SHELLEY — With all of Idaho experiencing a drought, the city of Shelley is asking residents to conserve water.

Shelley’s Mayor and City Council are trying to be proactive in water conservation by asking residents to start watering their lawns every other day and to avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day.

“Everywhere is having water issues,” Mayor Stacey Pascoe told Community Pioneer. “If you water every other day and water at night, then it helps conserve some of the water.”

Pascoe explained that this is a request from the city and that there are no plans to enforce water conservation.

“At this point, we’re just asking people to help us to make a difference,” he said.

Pascoe said there aren’t any problems with the city’s water supply and that the city has enough water rights.

“The farmers are trying to make it to the end of the year. So we just thought we’d be proactive instead of reactive,” he said. “If we try to be proactive, hopefully other people in our community will be proactive and we’ll have enough water to make it to the end of spud harvest.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. | Map courtesy of NDMC

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bingham County is experiencing a moderate drought. Other areas of the state are experiencing drought conditions varying from moderate to exceptional.

According to NDMC, the potential consequences of a moderate drought are: 

  • Dryland hay and grain crop yields are low; other crops and pasture are in poor condition
  • Well levels decline; reservoir levels are low; water shortages occur; water conservation programs are in place
  • Fire risk is elevated, fires spread easily
  • Deer are scrawny; bird population suffers due to loss of food and habitat; trees are stressed

Last month the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho released the final Water Supply Outlook Report for the 2021 water year.

“Water supply across the state varies depending on local drought intensity, duration, and reservoir carryover storage from last year.,” Erin Whorton, Hydrologist-Water Supply Specialist for NRCS Snow Survey in Idaho said in a June NRCS news release. “Without additional late spring or early summer precipitation, unregulated rivers will be at minimum or near record low flow levels by mid-to-late summer. We anticipate the combination of dry weather conditions, and the early and strong onset of irrigation demand, will cause reservoirs to reach minimal levels and have minimal carryover into water year 2022.”

Mike Price

Mike Price is an award winning journalist from Shelley. He is now one of the founding members and Editor-in-Chief of the Community Pioneer.

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